This post is courtesy of Sandeep Karandikar, a member of the Texas Executive MBA class of 2014.
As I sat down to write my first ever post for this blog, I was wondering on the subject and suddenly it became very obvious. Me and many others like me are trying to make a successful transition over from Engineering to Business. It was not an easy decision to make, and while I was fortunate enough to find someone to seek advice, I realize that not everyone has the avenues to do so and help them assess their unique situation.
Having finished grad school with Masters Degrees in Computer Science and Engineering Management, I have grown into an Enterprise Software Technologist role in twelve years of my professional life. As I started looking beyond what I had accomplished so far, it felt so near to what I had wanted to be and yet so far from where I aspired to be. Would the MBA really be worth the time, effort and money?
As Engineers, we strive for perfection and our life is all about 1 and 0s. On the contrary, being a successful business leader is never about perfection but rather about the compromises you make to achieve a vision. It is about cultivating the ability to think outside the box and blur the lines a little. For me, this mind shift was perhaps one of the most challenging aspects of making the transition from being a Technical leader to a Business leader.
As I looked into joining an MBA program, I did not want to reset my career and forego the years of invaluable professional experience that I had acquired. I was also witness to several mid-career professionals being promoted prematurely into management positions only to abide by the rules of gravity and I was not too keen on joining their ranks! I wanted to build on my experience and broaden my skill set beyond the technical world before aspiring for the executive suite.
The Executive program at UT has provided me with an opportunity to meet with a number of accomplished professionals. Not only are my fellow travelers from varying industry backgrounds but they are from different phases of their professional careers. I was quite surprised to see people who, in my opinion, are at the peak of their career and yet feel they have something to learn from the younger generation! During class interactions, it is obvious to me how my views on handling tough business situations are different from someone with a military or surgical background where day-to-day decisions often involve life and death scenarios. I would not have been exposed to this experience had I chosen to make lateral moves within my organization or for that matter even in my industry.
While the program entails two years of hard work and personal sacrifice, I perceive this as something that is really invaluable to preparing me for the difficult and ambiguous challenges of the future. The perspective that this program brings to my life is priceless!